Eels snap losing streak with Newcastle win
A try-scoring double from Nathan Peats in a frantic second-half has seen the Parramatta Eels snap a two-game losing streak with a 28-22 win over the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium.
In what was Parramatta's first win over Newcastle in seven attempts, as well as the first win in Newcastle since 2009, Parramatta came back from behind twice to secure their first victory since Round 4.
Newcastle's loss is their third-straight defeat after previously winning their first four games of the season.
"We hung on pretty bravely in the second half. We held on for a while there but then they scored a couple of tries from kicks and a soft one from dummy-half off the back of our errors of course," Knights coach Rick Stone said.
Down 12-10 at halftime, a penalty goal from Parramatta halfback Chris Sandow in the 42nd minute kicked off the second half scoring plays to help the Eels level the scoreline.
However, Knights halfback Tyrone Roberts kicked his team into the lead with another penalty goal two minutes later after Newcastle recovered the kick-off due to the strong breeze blowing in their face.
In a frantic opening second half exchange, the Eels scored in the 47th minute when Bureta Faraimo caught a Sandow grubber. A wicked bounce of the ball from Sandow's kick beat every Knight in the vicinity as Faraimo pounced on the ball to score his first try of the season.
Not to be outdone, the home side scored three minutes later through centre Dane Gagai. After the Eels were penalised for being offside after dropping the ball off another wind-affected kick-off, a backline shift initiated by Jarrod Mullen out on the right side saw Gagai break through, and recover from an ankle tap, to score.
The Knights scored back-to-back in the 57th minute when James McManus benefited from a Joey Leilua break and around-the-corner offload to score his first try in 343 days.
The Eels hit the lead again in the 67th minute when Nathan Peats burrowed his way over the line from dummy-half to earn, along with Sandow's conversion, his team a slender two-point lead.
It was a lead they would only extend from there when another try from hooker Peats compounded the Knights woes. A Sandow grubber, which deflected off James McManus's shoulder, saw Peats pounce on the ball just short of the deal ball-line.
Despite the Knights recovering their kick-off moments later, an error from Knights Gidley sealed their fate. A memorable chase from Danny Wicks saw the big prop run down Roberts in the final play of the game to ensure it wouldn't head into golden point.
While they ended the game with another loss, the Knights were on the board after five minutes when a backline movement within their own half saw winger Akuila Uate in open space. After weaving his way past Eels five-eighth Corey Norman, Uate drew in Will Hopoate 15 metres out from his tryline to send Chris Houston on his way for the first four-pointer of the afternoon.
Eight minutes later, and off the back of a Reece Robinson error, a shift to the right started by Knights prop Kade Snowden ended when five-eighth Mullen sent it out wide for Uate to score his 101st NRL try and become the Knights' third-highest point-scorer of all-time.
With the wind blowing heavily against Parramatta's favour, they were able to turn it into a positive when they regathered the kick-off. Come the 16th minute, a Peats cut-out pass to John Folau saw the young centre barrel his way over the tryline out wide.
After a tough backend of the first half, Richie Fa'aoso's NRL comeback was cut short after a matter of minutes when he had a head clash with opposite prop Jack Stockwell, suffering a concussion for his troubles.
With five minutes remaining in the half, a break from Eels forward Peni Terepo allowed Folau to cross for his second try of the afternoon on the very next tackle. With the Knights short in defence on Parramatta's attacking shift, Folau was still able to score despite having three Newcastle players attempting to hold him up.
"I've seen Newcastle come back for some remarkable wins but I felt we deserved the win. Our halves managed the game well which was very good. But I also think they managed to have a lot of good help around them," Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
Parramatta Eels 28 (John Folau 2, Nathan Peats 2, Bureta Faraimo, Tries; Chris Sandow 4 Goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 22 (Chris Houston, Akuila Uate, Dane Gagai, James McManus Tries; Tyrone Roberts 3 Goals) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 16,953. Halftime: Knights 12-10.